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Exploring The "potential Form" (to Be Able To Form)

Today I'd like to talk about the potential form or if you rather: "to be able" to do something.

Potential Form:

When reading up about the "potential form", I read something a bit surprising:
"All verbs conjugated into the potential form become a ru-verb"
This is from Tae Kim's book, A Guide to Japanese Grammar.
And yet, on the next page, we are instructed about the rules to create the Potential Form with distinct instructions for ru-verbs and u-verbs.
For ru-verbs, we'd place the る with られる.
For u-verbs, do a vowel switch from /u/ to /e/ and then add る. This is probably why "all verbs into the potential form become a ru-verb" as stated above.
Practice Makes Perfect:
Fortunately, we already have quite a wide assortment of various verbs from authentic texts. Let's take 恐れる for example, a ru-verb (一段).
In order to do the potential, we remove the final る and replace it with られる:
To fear ➡"can" fear, "be able to fear".
Therefore making the switch to potential form is simple when dealing with 一段 verbs.

This time around, let's try with 残す/のこ.す (to leave behind).
As usual, 五段 verbs are slightly more complex to conjugate than 一段 verbs. As mentioned previously, we'll proceed to do the vowel switch:
to leave behind/to be able to leave behind
...and that's it. Simple enough!
While it's simple to conjugate in the potential form, it's always a good idea to do a bit more in other to assimilate the process cognitively otherwise it's easy to forget.
More Practice:

挙げる➡られる: to lift up➡to be able to lift up.
求める➡求められる: to seek➡to be able to seek.
救う: to rescue ➡ 救える: to be able to rescue
泣く: to cry ➡ 泣ける: to be able to cry
及ぶ: to reach ➡ 及べる: to be able to reach
吸う:to suck ➡ 吸える: to be able to suck
休む: to rest ➡ 休める: to be able to rest
According to Tae Kim: ...it is also possible to just add 「れる」instead of the full 「られる」for ru-verbs. Therefore, we could shorten the following:
れる: 挙げれる (slang)
求めれる: 求めれる (slang)

Thank you for reading!


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